Members of the United Arab Emirates Banks Federation (UBF) discussed the potential adoption of blockchain into their banking systems to upgrade know-your-customer (KYC) processing.

Blockchain Enhancements

According to a report made by Dubai-based media outlet Gulf News, the meeting of the CEOs Advisory Council of the UBF met to discuss other topics, though blockchain managed to come to the table. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UBF said: “As part of our efforts aimed at creating and sustaining a thriving banking ecosystem, we have undertaken a number of initiatives and new endeavors, such as the adoption of blockchain into KYC process” – something of which Abu Dhabi based institutions have already begun working on.

At this meeting, a Digital Banking Committee study on blockchain was presented by Aref Al Ramli, chairperson of UBF’s Digital Banking Committee. In it, the report explores the role of blockchain as a standardizing technology for the digitization of various banking processes. Additionally, it discusses the “potential functions”, which include but are not limited to “client onboarding, cross-border transfers, payments, and compliance reporting”.

The UBF Chairman adds: “With advancements in technologies continuing to shape customer needs and expectations, it has become all-important for the banking industry to be at the forefront of innovation. The emerging technologies also present new opportunities for banks to create new revenue streams, which will in turn drive sustained business growth.”

Charging ahead

Blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related developments in the UAE have been speeding up as the year’s end approaches. Saudi Arabia will be launching a “state-managed” cryptocurrency in association with the UAE as an international payment solution. Furthermore, Abu Dhabi’s proposed guidelines to regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) as securities have been given the go-ahead by the UAE securities market watchdog, who will be looking to put “regulation on the ground” before Q3 of 2019.

The collaboration between the UAE and Saudi Arabia has progressed and now both parties are working well together to develop a cross-border cryptocurrency, which as mentioned earlier is an international payment solution. The partnership is one that signals a strong fintech future for two areas of the world who had previously either scrutinized the technology or banned cryptocurrencies altogether.

 

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